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[sna-foo, snaf-oo] /snæˈfu, ˈsnæf u/
a badly confused or ridiculously muddled situation:
A ballot snafu in the election led to a recount.
Antonyms: order, efficiency, calm.
adjective, Rare.
in disorder; out of control; chaotic:
a snafu scheme that simply won't work.
verb (used with object), snafued, snafuing. Rare.
to throw into disorder; muddle:
Losing his passport snafued the whole vacation.
Synonyms: confuse, mess up, bungle.
Origin of snafu
1940-45; s(ituation) n(ormal): a(ll) f(ucked) u(p); sometimes euphemistically construed as f(ouled) u(p) Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for snafu
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • "We're not giving her a chance to snafu the works," Gotch said grimly.

    First on the Moon Jeff Sutton
  • Everything was in apple-pie order, except for the snafu in Arzachel, Crag thought bitterly.

    First on the Moon Jeff Sutton
British Dictionary definitions for snafu


confusion or chaos regarded as the normal state
(postpositive) confused or muddled up, as usual
verb -fus, -fuing, -fued
(transitive) (US & Canadian) to throw into chaos
Word Origin
C20: from s(ituation) n(ormal): a(ll) f(ucked or ouled) u(p)
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for snafu

1941, U.S. military slang, acronym for situation normal, all fucked up, "an expression conveying the common soldier's laconic acceptance of the disorder of war and the ineptitude of his superiors" ["Oxford English Dictionary"]. As an adjective from 1942. In public explanations the word typically was euphemised to fouled.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for snafu



: It's a very snafu set-up here


  1. A very confused situation; fuck-up, mess: The snafu occurred at Markwood Road
  2. A blunder; an egregious mistake; blooper: My attempt to set things right was a total snafu


: He gave it a good shot, but snafued horribly

[WWII armed forces; fr situation normal, all fucked up]

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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